A battle of popular giants is underway in Baltimore. It has been announced that Pastor Jamal Bryant, well known for his advocacy and appearance on major news programs, is challenging Rep. Elijah Cummings for his congressional seat.
Bryant is the pastor of Empowerment Temple in Baltimore and played a key role in calming the streets of Baltimore in the aftermath of the death in police custody of Freddie Gray. Rising on the tide of the Black Lives Matter movement, Bryant is calling for a change in leadership. He stated to his supporters, “I am not opposing anyone; I am proposing new ideas. The country we love can be better… we are facing many crises… it is time for us to stand and to lead.”
Cummings is a powerful figure in Black politics and this challenge to his seat is not being taken lightly. It represents a change in the mentality of what Blacks in Baltimore now expect from their leadership in today’s America. Bryant went on to state, “After the Freddie Gray uprising, the proliferation of police brutality across this nation, the lack of jobs… I decided that leading a successful congregation … is not enough…We don’t need a leader who listens and does not deliver.”
The battle for the congressional seat of Elijah Cummings will not be easy. It is estimated that Cummings already has close to $900,000 in campaign funds. Bryant is possibly counting on Cummings running for the US Senate to replace outgoing Sen. Barbara Mikulski, who is the longest serving female senator in the country. Mikulski announced that she will not seek another term in the senate. However, Cummings has made no public announcement if he will run for her seat.